SGA executive tickets comment on UGA Supreme Court ban

Normally space would be reserved for a third ticket, but Hunter Kelly is not running for SGA president, at least, not anymore. 

Following an SGA senate decision not to hear their appeal, Kelly’s ticket, Redvolution, will not be allowed to run for office in this election.

After an initial issue where the ticket’s treasurer, Mustafa Faroon, failed to file his application to run by the deadline, the ticket was docked 24-hours of campaigning but would still be allowed to run.

The Ignite ticket then later appealed that decision to the Supreme Court for the University of Georgia, something Gabriel Finger, one of the campaign managers for Redvolution, said has never happened before.

The court then decided that the elections committee was wrong.

Chief Justice William Quarterman wrote for the court, “We, the Supreme Court consider the sanction of the Elections Committee against the Redvolution Executive Ticket to be null and void. Therefore, the ruling of the Supreme Court is that the Redvolution Executive Ticket is not recognized as an official Executive ticket and is unable to participate in the 2017 Student Body Elections.”

“At that time, it was just like ‘we’re going to continue to move forward’,” Kelly said.

The only option left was an appeal to the SGA senate, but Kelly said it didn’t go as planned.

The original idea was to appeal the decision regarding their eligibility to run, but 30 minutes before they were to present the argument they had prepared, Kelly said, things changed.

Rather than arguing over their ability to run, they instead had to argue whether the senate was even capable of hearing their appeal, they said, which meant their prep went right out the window. 

“We completely had to change the nature of our argument,” Finger said.

The final vote came in at 8 ayes, 25 nays, and 4 abstentions.

Just like that, Redvolution was finished before it ever started.

At the time, Finger said only that, “the campaign will be pursuing all avenues to rectify the situation.”

And for his part, Kelly said of the decision, “God works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will.”

But on Monday March 13, Kelly wrote in a post on Facebook that he had met with both the other ticket’s candidates and agreed to run a clean race after Ignite had already filed the appeal, though at the time he did not know an appeal had been filed. 

“The Student Body deserves an election between candidates attempting to win their hearts for the right to be their official voice- Not one litigated so that they can be won by default,” the post reads.

Finger and Kelly both said that the appeal by Ignite came as a surprise.

“The initial 24-hour delays on the campaigns, we understood those charges and we weren’t going to fight them,” Finger said. “When things escalated after that, that was definitely a real surprise.”

Kelly said that after that meeting, there was the understanding that all three groups running was the best for the student body.

“We came to an agreement that we would run a clean campaign and that it was important that all of us ran, because we represent different aspects of campus,” Kelly said.

Cameron Keen, the presidential candidate for Ignite, said that the meeting did occur, but that it was very brief and he was, “open and honest.”

“While we did believe that there was an issue we needed to bring up to the supreme court nothing was official,” Keen said. “We did what we thought was right by keeping the other tickets accountable.”

Ignite released their own statement on Facebook on Tuesday March 14, which established their belief that, “this campaign is the first step in fostering a culture of accountability both within SGA and throughout the student body”

The post reads, “As candidates in this election season, our ticket does not have the ability to decide or influence the fate of another ticket. Any action taken regarding a ticket is done by the SGA Judiciary or the Elections Committee.”

Finger questioned Ignite’s claim that they had no power over the fate of the other tickets.

“I don’t agree with that, and I’ll leave it simply at the fact that we had a 24-hour delay, and they chose to further appeal it to the Supreme Court, with the obvious possibility that they be the only campaign left,” Finger said.

When asked, Rise presidential candidate Ammishaddai Grand-Jean said, “Rise’s main focus is to rise above all the distractions, and the noise that’s going on, we’re focused on serving students.”

Ignite stood behind their statement, but added that they want the students to hold them to the same high standards.

“We are very interested in working with anyone who puts the student body first,” Keen said. “Whether [or not] that is members of other tickets, and that includes honesty and openness with everyone.”

“We invite everyone to keep us accountable as well,” said Roya Naghepour, Ignite’s candidate for vice president. 

Article source: Supreme Court

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